The motor mechanic: Hermann Mack from Solnhofen | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 10.05.2010
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The motor mechanic: Hermann Mack from Solnhofen

Hermann Mack has motor oil running through his veins. The 51-year-old lives and works as a car mechanic in a small town deep in Bavaria.

Hermann Mack

Hermann says he's happy with his life as it is

Hermann Mack's interest in cars goes back to his childhood. Motors are his abiding passion, but the Bavarian mechanic also has plenty of other interests.

"I got my first moped when I was 12, and a bigger machine that went 85 kilometers per hour when I was 13," he remembers. So when it came to choosing a career, the decision wasn't difficult. He became a mechanic.

From passion to profession

22 years ago he decided to set up shop on his own. The master mechanic founded the Mack Car Showroom in his hometown Solnhofen. Nowadays the small town with 1900 inhabitants would be unthinkable without the Mack Car Showroom.

Hermann Mack standing in front of a truck

Hermann loves big cars with big engines

Hermann and his wife Ina are not just partners in their private lives. They also work together. Ina is in charge of the administration. Hermann takes care of sales and spends 60 to 70 hours in the workshop.

But the financial and economic crisis has hit the automobile industry particularly hard: "Our sales are noticeably down," says Hermann. And that means I have to do more in the workshop. We're a small company with just four employees."

Even the German government's car scrappage scheme did little to boost sales - mainly because the Japanese car brand that Mack sells is less present in rural areas, especially in the small car segment that did best out of the scheme. So Hermann Mack is focusing on the mechanics side of his business.

He does routine services, body work and more extensive crash damage repairs – he offers an all-round service. In the past he went out to the scene of accidents and towed damaged cars back to the workshop. Nowadays the old tow truck is mainly used as a prop and to advertise the showroom.

hermann mack playing the guitar

Hermann is also interested in politics, religion - and music

In his spare time Hermann Mack likes to play guitar, but has little time to spend on his hobby. His pride and joy is a powerful BMW motorbike with a two-seater sidecar. It's a one-off, he says. His constant companion on all outdoor activities – whether on foot or motorized – is his dog Nelly.

Interest in politics

A year ago, Hermann gave up his seat on the local council. He's no longer politically active but he's still very interested in current affairs. He sees voting as a duty and he's happy to share his opinion of the new coalition government: "I think that this government will be mainly good for the rich," he says. "My customers aren't rich. They are primarily workers, employees and ordinary civil servants. And as for me, I don't believe the new government will benefit me much."

Hermann Mack says he's not religious in a big way. But he was baptized and belongs to the protestant majority in the local community – an unusual situation in predominantly catholic Bavaria. "My idea of God is not the same as the church's," he says. "If there is a God, then it's not one like in the Bible or the Koran. My idea is that God is more a part of Nature."

One of Hermann Mack's pet hates is people who earn a lot but are mean with their money. He and his wife support charitable causes.

"While I was in hospital I became aware of an organization that allows you to sponsor children in need," he says. "I've adopted a child in a poor part of China. The child is the focus, but it's a project that helps the whole village. The few euros that we donate is a lot of money in China. It's good to help where one can. Really we should do it more often, or we should adopt more children in the future."

For the future, Hermann Mack mainly hopes to stay healthy. And to have more time to spend with his family. When asked who he would like to change places with for a day, he just scratches his head. "That would be too risky….I would be too afraid that the person I swapped with might die on that day and I wouldn't make it back," he says. It sounds like Hermann Mack would like everything to stay just as it is.

Author: Xiegong Fischer (jp)
Editor: Rina Goldenberg

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